Spotlight on Sophia Kimble

I am happy to spotlight Sophia Kimble and her debut novel, Protect Her. Her long and winding path to publication will inspire writers (and non-writers) to pursue their dreams.

Here’s Sophia!

sophia kimbleI’m going to preface this spotlight with the fact I hate talking about myself, so bear with me folks. I make up stories for a living—telling the truth leaves something a bit sour on my tongue. Oops, I’ve said too much already.

Whew, okay, I feel better now.

I’ve been an avid reader all of my life. Heard that before, I’m sure, but hey, it’s the truth. (Oh no, get me my toothbrush.) My love of romance novels began when I was thirteen after I read the first book in the Calder Saga series by Janet Dailey. I mean, come on, what’s not to love? Gorgeous alpha male cowboys who live and love in Montana. Well, I can tell you, I saved my allowance and bought them all, stayed up all night to finish, and took a trip to Montana when I was older. Even dreamed of meeting and falling in love with a real cowboy!

It was probably in College while I was taking interior design and acting classes that I began to think I could write a book, but I was always too afraid of failure to give it a go. (I grew up in Southern California, so it shouldn’t surprise you what my first majors were. I was even an extra in a couple of movies.) I know, what the heck was I doing studying to become an actor when I feared rejection?

Those were my thoughts exactly, which is why I changed majors. So what does someone who wants to be an author, interior designer, or an actor, but is too afraid, do with her life? She becomes a nurse. Makes perfect sense, don’t you think?

Twenty years later an accident left me unable to work for an extended period, and I began thinking about that long-ago dream of writing. Talked to my husband (who’s not a cowboy, but oh so sexy just the same) about it, and he urged me to give it a try.

The first year was full of not only writing Protect Her, but taking classes, entering contests, having my work reviewed by critique partners, getting rejection letters from agents, and many…many rewrites. Like many first time authors, I wavered from this book sucks, to it’s actually pretty good, and then back again. Usually within a five minute time span.

Then, (here’s where it gets good) Savvy Authors held on online pitch event, and Protect Her received requests from publishers to see my manuscript… four partials and three fulls. Yay! Two of the partials became fulls, and Protect Her received 3 contract offers!

I was floored! No literally, I fell on the floor and my husband came running to see what was wrong. After much consideration, I signed with Soul Mate Publishing, and couldn’t be happier with the decision. Protect Her is now available on Amazon.

Life is good.

ProtectHer_850HIGH (2)


Golden Alexander is trapped in a nightmare.

Trying to flee her hallucination of a demon, she runs heart first into the brooding alpha male she’s been dreaming about for years, and then her nightmare really begins.

Kris Pietka is done with women…he’s broken. But when he meets Golden, an overwhelming need to protect her tests everything he thought he knew about himself, and the paranormal.

A bond forged centuries ago thrusts them together as they search for a way to break an ancient Druid curse prophesying their demise. Racing against the clock, they travel from Vermont, to the Carpathian Mountains in Poland, and the Scottish Highlands in search of answers and a way to break the curse.

But something evil watches—it covets, and time is running out.

Will fate allow love to prevail against unbeatable odds, or will Golden wake to find it was all a delusion?


Sophia Kimble has always wanted to be an author, but for years, life got in the way. She wouldn’t change a thing about how her life turned out, though. Her family keeps her laughing and loving. Her wonderful husband and two extraordinary children stand beside her every step of the way and make this journey called life worth living.

Sophia has worked as a nurse for twenty years, but has put that career path aside to devote her time and imagination to writing down the stories that keep her up nights.

She takes her love of the paranormal, history, and genealogy, and weaves them into tales of family, fated love, and supernatural occurrences.

Where to find Sophia…

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Life Is What You Make Of It!

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have prolific author Dormaine G chatting about the varied and rich life experiences that led to literary publication.

Here’s Dormaine!

dormaineThank you Joanne for inviting me to write for your segments on Second Acts.

Well, let me tell you a little something about me. I was born in New York but moved to Mississippi as a child. I went to Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana to study medicine then moved to Massachusetts for life experience. I needed more than the typical life routine. Eventually, I moved back to New York where I became a registered nurse and studied forensic nursing. After working a few years in New York as a nurse, I started doing travel nursing and loved it. Eventually, I decided to stop traveling, while in Colorado, to stay closer to family. Shortly after, I met my wonderful husband and have been here ever since.

Getting into writing wasn’t so much as triggered but forced. I worked as a triage nurse for a pharmaceutical company but the business relocated out of state. I believe things happen for a reason because it forced me to pursue my dream of writing. Even as a child, I have always had a love for science fiction and enjoyed it through books, movies and comics. I have dabbled in writing throughout the years, and realized it was time for me to take the plunge. Instead of going back to work immediately, I stayed home to write. I published my first novel titled Connor in late 2013. I plan on following up with a series of books under the Connor name. My other books are under the Madame Lilly saga and plan on having her around for many more years.

Presently, I am working with five other authors on a paranormal sampler titled Mysticism & Myths which is set to be released mid December. My book in the sampler is titled Micco, Anguta’s Reign which is set to be released this November. I’m also working on a third volume under the Madame Lilly series. Besides that, I will continue to write and produce the many tales that I have hidden in my room or stored in my head. I have met some wonderful people along this journey so far and will continue to maintain such relationships.

Although writing can leave you quite exposed, I find it to be liberating. I never imagined that I would be able to live such a dream because that’s exactly what it is- a dream. Now having experienced it, I would not give it up for anything. If you feel writing is something you must do then do so. Take that plunge if you can, but if you do, then it must be for yourself and not others. Not everyone will understand or even get it but that is all right as long as you know what you feel in your heart. Always be true to yourself and your literature.

“I believe the power of positive thinking” If you think it, then it shall be. You just have to believe.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

Dormaine’s Books

Micco (3)Micco, a captivating Native American man with a desirable physique and statuesque features, radiates a mysterious allure. Living on the reservation with his unapproachable father, he doesn’t believe in the old ways and works as a cop in the local town. The only reason he lives on the land is Nara, his childhood friend and the love of his life, who is married to a cruel reservation man.

Waking up in the heart of a murderous scene, he flees for his life, unfamiliar with his surroundings or how he arrived there. To his horror, he’s assigned to the case. As he works with the local detective, more murders transpire with unusual, terrifying sightings of wolves.

His behavior starts to drastically change, forcing others to take notice. Although trying to avoid the inevitable, Micco is forced to accept the undesirable truth, unable to fight what has been awakened, and all that he has forgotten is finally revealed.

connorConnor recently discovers she has the gift of invisibility among other gifts but what she doesn’t realize is that her life is about to change for the worse. She is fifteen, sarcastically funny, at least she thinks so, and doesn’t always like to face reality. She meets five other teenagers who have abilities similar to hers but not everyone is so eager to find answers as to why they are different.

Sensing their lives are in danger, she is determined to figure out the truth by any means necessary, forcing her to grow up fast. Connor is slapped with the cold, hard, fact that the people she thought she knew are not who they appear to be and all human beings are not just that human.

Through all of this, Connor and Tony, one other with abilities, start to develop feelings for each other causing jealousy in more ways than one. Then there is Ronin, who is young, smart, and breathtaking. He is set on taking his revenge out on Connor but she has no idea why.

MadameLillyThe time is 1890, the place, New Orleans, and Odara is lost to Madame Lilly, her soulless side—and she has not finished what she started. Unleashing two great forces, Theolus and Hearon, with ferocious appetites against her common-law husband, Henry Nicholas, is just the beginning of the end for Lilly—only she doesn’t know it yet.

For the spirits she raised took what was left of her humanity and left a piece of themselves within her; a piece that craves chaos. Needing to maintain control over them to do her bidding, Lilly must do what is required even if it means becoming more like them.

Tortured, scorned and damned, Lilly has one mission in life: Retribution.

madamelilly2In the late 1800’s Odara, a Creole girl in New Orleans, grew up wealthy and having the best of everything. She was taught the ways of plaçage: to be a wealthy man’s common-law wife. She didn’t want to follow the ways of plaçage as her mother had, until she met the man of her dreams, Henry Nicolas. He was handsome, charming and rich; perfect in every way until their first night of marriage when she saw his true malevolent side.

For twelve long years Odara endured abuse in the worst ways possible, taking her from a naive child to a scorned woman. A woman fueled with such revulsion towards Henry she would give anything for vengeance.

Through voodoo, Madame Lilly was born, but with it came consequences beyond even her comprehension.

Where to Find Dormaine

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Smashwords

Joanne here!

Dormaine, thank you for an inspiring post! Best of luck with all your literary endeavors.

Oprah and Pema Chödrön


Yesterday, Oprah welcomed prolific author and world-renowned Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön to Super Soul Sunday.

Born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown in 1936, she followed a conventional path, attending a prestigious prep school and college before marrying and having children. Later, she divorced and married a second husband who, in turn, left her at age 35. Shocked and traumatized, it took her three years to grieve and then forge an extraordinary spiritual path from wife/mother to ordained Buddhist nun. Pema learned to embrace her authentic self at Gampo Abbey, a monastery on Cape Breton Island (Nova Scotia) where she is resident and teacher.

Throughout the telecast, Pema focused on what to do when one’s life falls apart. The knee jerk reaction is to run away. Instead, Pema recommends the practice of compassionate abiding with oneself: Breathe in the suffering (unwanted discontent) and be open to it. Be right there with the feeling, taking note of all thoughts. Then, breathe out and create a lot of space. She gently reminds us that nothing wrong has happened. Life is simply pointing us in a different direction.

Quotable Quotes…

If you don’t know the nature of fear, you can’t be fearless.

Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.

The sun is always shining in the rain. It never went anywhere.

Let go of fear and ego to embrace your authentic self.

If you’re invested in security and certainty, then you are on the wrong planet.

We are one blink away from being fully awake.

Spirituality—Going beyond beliefs vs Religion—Holding onto beliefs

Fail. Fail again. Fail better

If You Don’t Have a Dream

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have author and public relations dynamo Adrienne Vaughan chatting about the importance of dreams.

Here’s Adrienne!

Adrienne and Winston

Adrienne and Winston

I’ve always loved that song, you know, the one from South Pacific, Happy Talk. It’s so true, if you don’t have a dream, how on earth are you going to make a dream come true?

There again, have you ever met anyone who doesn’t dream they were someone or something else? Most people wish for something different, but it’s the dreamers, and I mean the real dreamers who make a difference. Sighing and wishing achieves very little, as far as I can tell, it’s the proper, ‘let’s take this seriously’ dreamer who gets things done, changes themselves, their environment, the whole world if they mean too.

But it wasn’t until Joanne kindly invited me onto her blog, and I was giving this notion some thought, that I realised that’s exactly what I am, a serious dreamer!

I knew very definitely what my first act would be, from the age of seven I wanted to be a writer, no ifs or buts. I was given a Petite Typewriter and my fate was sealed. I wrote poems, plays, short stories and articles – pasting them together on the kitchen table, creating my own magazines.

My mother, taking a well-earned break with a cup of tea and a copy of Women’s Own, would open the pages and scream. I had usually chopped half of it out, leaving holes in the articles and no pictures to the features.

I was twelve when I decided I was going to be a journalist, ideally the editor of a glossy magazine, where I could meet and marry a rock star – David Bowie or Bryan Ferry were ideal potential husbands in my opinion – so I packed my dream in my suitcase and left Dublin to work in London, on a glossy pop magazine, of course.

Adrienne and Bryan Ferry

Adrienne and Bryan Ferry

Fast forward twenty five years and my career has turned from poacher to gamekeeper, I now run a busy PR practice, and my second act is well and truly upon me, emerging as part of my development as a writer, rather than a real need for change.

Writers write, it’s what they do, so of course I have any amount of half-baked novels under the bed, one is nearly thirty years old! But it wasn’t until I became involved with the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the New Romantics Press and Amazon that perhaps, my most serious dream came true. I published my first novel, The Hollow Heart and to finally hold my work in my hand as a real book was without doubt, one of the best feelings ever. Now, as I blearily edit my third novel, due out at the end of November, I keep pushing the dream on and it’s getting bigger and better.

My advice for anyone pursuing a second act? Use all the skills, contacts and determination you used pursuing your first. I would be nowhere without the RNA, Amazon and my precious chums, Lizzie Lamb, June Kearns and Mags Cullingford – and I wouldn’t even have known them without relentlessly pursuing my serious dream.

(l-r) Liz Harris, Pia Courtney, Talli Roland, Lizzie Lamb, Rowan Coleman, Julie Cohen and Adrienne Vaughan all pictured at Liz Fenwick’s book launch at Waterstones, Kensington High Street.

(l-r) Liz Harris, Pia Courtney, Talli Roland, Lizzie Lamb, Rowan Coleman, Julie Cohen and Adrienne Vaughan all pictured at Liz Fenwick’s book launch at Waterstones, Kensington High Street.

This is what’s stuck on my computer screen …She turned her can’ts into cans …and her dreams into plans! Go on, you can do it!

Moping about glumly wishing things could be different, if only I were rich, pretty, clever is never going to work is it.

Adrienne’s Books

coverthehollowheartMarianne Coltrane is a feisty,award-winning journalist who is far from lucky in love. Taking herself off to the wilds of the west of Ireland to recuperate, she literally runs into Ryan O’Gorman, the most conceited, infuriating man in the world. He’s an actor who’s just landed the biggest role in movie history and he loathes journalists. One thing they do have in common is they both think their chance of true love has passed them by…but fate has other ideas!

coverchangeofheartEscaping to a remote Irish isle, journalist Marianne Coltrane had not bargained for a tumultuous affair with movie star Ryan O’Gorman. When Ryan leaves to pursue his career, Marianne remains on the island to care for those who need her most, but Ryan soon realises he cannot live without her and returns to woo her back. Tricky enough without his problematic ex-wife or the contract he cannot break, but when a good deed puts all they treasure in jeopardy, it’s time to take stock and fight for what matters most…or is time running out for this charismatic couple and everything they hold dear?


AV-Author (2)Adrienne Vaughan’s books have been described as Maeve Binchy meets Jackie Collins – as these authors are two of her heroines, she thinks this is just fantastic!

Adrienne Vaughan has been making up stories since she could speak; as soon as she could pick up a pen she started writing them down. No surprise she wanted to be a journalist, ideally the editor of a glossy magazine, where she could meet and marry a rock star! Today she runs a busy PR practice, writing novels, poems and short stories in her spare time.

She was born in England, was brought up in Dublin and now lives in rural Leicestershire with her husband, two cocker spaniels and a rescue cat called Agatha Christie; she still harbours a burning ambition to be a Bond girl!

Adrienne is working on the final book in the Heartfelt trilogy Secrets of the Heart, which she intends to publish in November 2014. She has outlines for her next two books, which are set on the same island but feature different characters and storylines.

A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme since 2012, Adrienne is the current editor of the RNA’s magazine Romance Matters and a founder member of the indie publishing group, The New Romantics Press. In her professional life she is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and the Chartered Institute of Journalists. She also holds a licence to drive a powerboat.

Where to find Adrienne…

Website | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook

Joanne here!

Adrienne, thank you for sharing your inspiring journey and providing wonderful advice and insights. Your books sound delicious. I’m putting them on my TBR list.

Spotlight on Beth Carter

I am thrilled to spotlight Beth Carter and her delightful novel, Thursdays at Coconuts, one of my favorite summer 2014 reads. I am also impressed and inspired by her remarkable writing journey.

Here’s Beth!

My writing journey has been filled with sunny days, pouring rain, hills, curves, pot holes, and detours. But let’s get off this country road, shall we?

Beth Carter Facebook Crop (2)I’ve always loved to read and checked out many library books as a child. Reading and writing were my two favorite school subjects so it’s a natural fit. My first foray into writing was in eighth grade. I was hooked once I read my byline in the Pipkin Pirates newsletter. I was a staff writer and the roving reporter. From there, I loved writing papers in my English and literature classes in high school and college. Almost all of my college papers received “As” with encouraging remarks that I should submit them to national magazines. I didn’t. I just wanted to hold onto those words from an esteemed professor. She gave me the hope and boost I needed.

Enter marriage, a baby, and a divorce by the age of 25. Suddenly, I was a single mom and the head of our household. I had bills to pay. I worked full time and went to college at night. My daughter was just three years old. I wasn’t able to attempt a novel then, but I did a great deal of non-fiction writing. After my divorce I worked at a private college where I was executive secretary to the president, got a business administration degree, and later left and became a public relations director for a local hospital.

There, I had the opportunity to spread my wings and write press releases, newspaper articles for our various departments and physicians, and a hospital newsletter. I also ventured into script writing and created television commercials for the hospital and later for a bank. I won a second-place award in the state of Missouri for one of my television commercials on substance abuse. I also won two third place state-wide awards for an annual report and newsletter. It was a thrill but I still wanted to write a novel.

After being in marketing for over 20 years, watching my daughter grow up and go off to college, I turned back to my dream. In 2009, I enrolled in a “How To Write Your First Novel” series of classes at a community college. It was taught by a novelist who had written about 90 novels. He was entertaining and full of great information. I started my novel the next day. It was a romantic suspense and when I was nearly half finished, I lost the manuscript. I mean my computer ate it. I was sick. I was depressed. I cried. I got angry. We hired a tech guy who was the “best.” He couldn’t retrieve it. My hopes were dashed. Then, we heard about a computer lab in California that could find anything on a hard drive. My sweet husband paid the fee, shipped it off, and we crossed our fingers and toes. The lab described their clean room as akin to a hospital operating room where everything is sterile and the contents are spread out on a table. I didn’t hold out much hope. Months had passed, so I started a second novel, THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS.

Once I got into THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS, I fell in love with my characters and their journey. I was about one-third into it when we received the amazing news that the lab had retrieved my first novel. I was ecstatic but really wanted to finish COCONUTS, so I did. In the meantime, my husband copied off my first manuscript so I’d always have a back-up and bought a second hard drive. I still haven’t finished that novel but I will. In the meantime, the sequel to THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS is calling. Loudly.

That’s not the end. We had a family tragedy of epic Dateline proportions. Everything stopped. The world stopped. My writing stopped. Tiny spoiler: I have a tragic scene in THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS so I couldn’t bear to read my own work and the ensuing grief and depression that follows. (It all works out and there’s a happy ending.)

So…I turned to writing children’s picture books. Some family members went to grief therapy but writing kidlit became my therapy. I have three picture books that have been published including WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE? THE MISSING KEY, and SANTA’S SECRET. My fourth, SOUR POWER, is with an editor now. Going to schools and reading to kids has been a tremendous joy. I will always write children’s books in addition to novels.

All of this, and I didn’t even get to my pitching fiascos. Suffice to say, I flew to one state to pitch to a well-known agent and broke out in hives. I pitched to agents and editors who came to conferences in Missouri. All were receptive and asked for partials and fulls. My contract came when I pitched online where we had to boil our novels down into just five lines. A huge thanks to Debby Gilbert, senior editor of Soul Mate Publishing, for believing in me and my work.

Thank you for this opportunity, Joanne, and I hope you enjoy THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS. I’m happy to say I’ve gotten rave reviews (mostly from strangers!) and I can’t wait to get back to the sequel and that mysterious, playing-hard-to-get first novel.

thursdaysatcoconuts 850x1275HIGH (2)


As the go-to wedding planner, Suzy can’t find her own wedded bliss and has one shocker of a wedding day. It doesn’t help that she’s still pining for her high school sweetheart, the one who got away. Handling neurotic brides is the best part of Suzy’s day until her son brings home a bombshell from Europe.

Alexandra, a beautiful marketer with a “touch” of OCD, falls for a bad-boy cop who’s married and possibly stalking her. But he sure is sexy. Alex tries to stay at arm’s length after she puts her job—and life—on the line for the officer who isn’t always a gentleman.

Hope hates her name, looks, and frizzy hair. As a high school counselor, she dishes out sage advice to students, yet can’t see she’s enabling her deadbeat, stuck-in-the-seventies hippie parents. After tragedy strikes, she reexamines their relationship and discovers a secret that almost went to the grave.

Friends since high school, the thirty-something women meet every Thursday at Coconuts for their own form of friendapy.


A former bank vice president, Beth Carter shed her suits and heels to pen novels and children’s picture books. Her debut novel, THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS, released in August, 2014, by Soul Mate Publishing. A sequel is planned.

Her three picture books are: SANTA’S SECRET, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE? and THE MISSING KEY. Carter’s short stories and poems are published in four anthologies and three six-word memoir collections alongside famous authors and celebrities. Previously, she worked in marketing for 20 years in healthcare and banking. When she isn’t writing, you’ll likely find her sipping a skinny vanilla latte or at T.J. Maxx.

Where to find Beth…




Facebook (Women’s Fiction):

Facebook (Children’s Books):

Hold on Tight to Your Dreams

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Lizzie Lamb chatting about the dream that simmered for over three decades before coming to fruition.

Here’s Lizzie!

lizziepixBriefly describe your first act.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. However, like most aspiring writers I had bills to pay and commitments to meet. I’m not the sort of person who could starve in a garret in order to write, or the kind of woman who would expect her husband/partner to support her financially while she followed a dream. A dream which might never be realised. So the dream went on hold. If I couldn’t be a writer, I decided, I would pour my enthusiasm for writing into helping children fall in love with words and books instead, and stimulate their imagination through story telling.

In 1972 I qualified as a primary school teacher and spent time and energy teaching children how to become better writers. In this process I discovered that I had a talent for writing, producing plays and providing ex-curricular Dance and Drama Workshops for the older children. Throughout my thirty four year teaching career I never gave up on the dream that one day I would hold my own book in my hands.

Fast forward to 1988. With my career established, I managed to find some time away from marking, preparation and assessment and wrote my first romance. It was entitled The Summer of the Lotus and thanks to contacts I made I acquired an agent. I then wrote romance #2 A Reversal of Fortune, in which Mills and Boone showed an interest but suggested that I needed to hone and develop my craft. I was more than happy to do this and carried on writing in the wee, small hours after my prep for the next day was completed.

In 1990 I reached a crossroads in my life to pursue my writing dream or to get to the top of my chosen profession, teaching. I applied for and was appointed Deputy Head Teacher in a large (400+) primary school in Leicestershire. Yes, you’ve guessed it, the writing was put on hold as the post was too good to pass up on. Over the next sixteen years my time was taken up as a manager, coordinator and facilitator. However, I still found time to write, produce, choreograph and direct two plays a year with the older children in school, so the writing bug was kept alive.

What triggered the need for change?

The clock was ticking and changes were taking place in publication – Amazon, self-publishing, kindle and so on and I wanted to ride the crest of the wave before it petered out. In 2006 I took the plunge and retired from teaching (at age 55) in order to concentrate on my writing. My desire and enthusiasm had never diminished but the face of romantic fiction was changing – thanks to the Bridget Jones’s phenomenon, and I wanted to be part of those changes.

I had always enjoyed reading and writing about feisty heroines with a can-do attitude; women who want to succeed in life. The heroines in my novels fall in love, of course they do, but they don’t sit around like depressed Cinderellas waiting for a prince to rescue them. They are ‘heroes’ in their own right and more than a match for the male protagonist. Typically, he will be a more rounded Beta hero, rather than a domineering Alpha male. These are the men I relate to and the feedback I’ve received from my readership, show they do, too. My heroes are looking for Miss Right, but might not realise that she’s right in front of him until they experiences a coup de foudre and fall in love.

I got back in touch with my former agent but she had retired, and so I started down the road of submitting to agents looking for debut authors. However, I was advised by other writers that, for me, self-publishing might be the answer.

I had my novel professionally critiqued, proof read and formatted. I launched Tall, Dark and Kilted on Amazon in November 2012, closely followed by Boot Camp Bride a year later. During that time I formed an indie authors’ collaborative with three other romance authors, The New Romantics 4, learned to blog, tweet, and have made lots of friends and fans through the pages of Facebook and Pinterest.

Where are you now?

I’m 70% through writing rom com number three, set in Scotland, with a hunky American hero called Brodie. I hope to publish in 2015, after posting a cover reveal, post and pre-order links on my website soon after Christmas. I have ideas for many more novels and, fingers crossed, will have the stamina and good health to write them. I haven’t gone down the route of actively looking for an agent and a publisher as I am quite happy being an indie author ATM. But who knows? If the right contract came along, one which offered me better terms than I can get on my own, I might be interested. But it’d have to be pretty good as I have done all the hard work and am loathe to hand it all over to a publisher who might not work hard to promote me.

Do you have advice for anyone planning to pursue a second act?

If you have a dream – and who doesn’t? – go for it. You might have to wait until the mortgage is paid, the children have been through university and left home, but never lose sight of what is it you really want to do. Who you really are. Start planning for it in advance and get your ducks in a row, like I did. I had to wait for thirty four years to realise my dream, but I got there in the end. I hope you realise your dream much sooner.

Any affirmations or quotations you wish to share?


Life is not a rehearsal.

If luck doesn’t come your way, go out and make your own luck.

But above all – Follow Your Heart . . . That’s what I did.

Lizzie’s Books

tall,darkandkiltedFliss Bagshawe longs for a passport out of Pimlico where she works as a holistic therapist. After attending a party in Notting Hill she loses her job and with it the dream of being her own boss. She’s offered the chance to take over a failing therapy centre, but there’s a catch. The centre lies five hundred miles north in Wester Ross, Scotland. Fliss’s romantic view of the highlands populated by Men in Kilts is shattered when she has an upclose and personal encounter with the Laird of Kinloch Mara, Ruairi Urquhart. He’s determined to pull the plug on the business, bring his eccentric family to heel and eject undesirables from his estate – starting with Fliss. Facing the dole queue once more Fliss resolves to make sexy, infuriating Ruairi revise his unflattering opinion of her, turn the therapy centre around and sort out his dysfunctional family. Can Fliss tame the Monarch of the Glen and find the happiness she deserves?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada

It’s almost two years to the day since I finished formatting Tall, Dark and Kilted and the proof copy of the paperback arrived from Create Space. To celebrate this momentous occasion, I’m reducing the price of Tall Dark and Kilted from £1.99 to £0.99 ($2.99 to $0.99 in the U.S.) for the next two weeks. So, if you fancy spending these chilly autumn evenings in the company of a hot laird, download it now.

boot camp brideTake an up-for-anything reporter. Add a world-weary photo-journalist. Put them together . . . light the blue touch paper and stand well back! Posing as a bride-to-be, Charlee Montague goes undercover at a boot camp for brides in order to photograph supermodel Anastasia Markova. At Charlee’s side and posing as her fiancé, is Rafael Ffinch award winning photographer and survivor of a kidnap attempt in Colombia. He’s in no mood to cut inexperienced Charlee any slack and has made it plain that once the investigation is over, their partnership – and fake engagement – will be terminated, too. Soon Charlee has more questions than answers. What’s the real reason behind Ffinch’s interest in the boot camp? How is it connected to his kidnap in Colombia? In setting out to uncover the truth, Charlee puts herself in danger … As the investigation draws to a close, she wonders if she’ll be able to hand back the engagement ring and walk away from Rafa without a backward glance.

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon Canada

Where to find Lizzie…

Website | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Pinterest

And New Romantics 4

Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Joanne here!

Lizzie, thank you for inspiring us with your journey and reminding us never to give up on our dreams. Best of luck with all your literary endeavors.

Breaking Down Barriers

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Dawn Rusinko sharing her inspiring journey through prolonged and difficult seasons.

Here’s Dawn!

dawnrusinko2Thank you Joanne for inviting me to write for your segments on Second Acts.

We all have Seasons in our lives that conjure change. Life circumstances often lead us to face challenges. Challenges like, the sting of rejection, ingratitude, deception and false expectations that surprise us from people we care about. It forces us to take a deep hard look within, but not to stay there in self-pity licking our wounds. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been there. I can remember being very sick and finding out who my real friends were. Writing a children’s book and being rejected by 23 publishing companies, because I didn’t have a literary agent, or it was not their style of publishing. My 11-year-old, son almost lost his life due to a brain tumor and hemorrhaging blood clot. I experienced failed relationships and business ventures, but with every loss there is grieving and a healing process.

This process can feel like the end of the road, but it isn’t. It’s where you meet your darkness, crushed to allow the new seeds of life to break forth. It’s like driving through a long dark tunnel bringing you to a new season of life. You break down and through the barriers of rejection and loss learning that it didn’t kill you it refined and redirected you to better and brighter things. New chapters open when old chapters end.


Currently, I am going through the tunnel to a new season in my life. I’ve picked back up that rejected children’s book from 25 years ago and working on resurrecting it. I am fine-tuning my writing skills by blogging. I am volunteering on a National and local level, and I am in the process of writing three books with the hope that this time I will break down the barrier into publishing. I’ve found these quotes helpful to me, perhaps you will too.

J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series was not only rejected 12 times, but she was told rather harshly not to quit her day job. Anne Frank’s diary was rejected 15 times and the famous “Gone with the Wind” was rejected 38 times. When Lucille Ball began studying to be actress in 1927, she was told by the head instructor to, “Try any other profession.”

“Great success is built on failure, frustration, even catastrophe” ~Sumner Redstone

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot … and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed.” ~ Michael Jordan

Where to find Dawn…

Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Joanne here!

Thank you, Dawn, for sharing your journey. Your post has uplifted my spirit, and I am certain it will resonate with many other readers. Let me know when your first book is published. I would love to spotlight it on this blog.